‘Probe cost increase in road projects by CID’

Days after a comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report slammed BMC for cost escalations in road projects, opposition parties created uproar at a civic statutory standing committee meeting Friday demanding a CID inquiry against the ruling Sena-BJP alliance.

The CAG report tabled in the winter session of the legislative assembly claimed financial mismanagement on the part of the civic body, causing major revenue loss.

"There was no transparency in granting road contracts. The road repair and construction work is also of poor quality. The CAG report proves this," said Congress corporator and opposition leader Dnyanraj Nikam.

Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh said variation in tenders alloted by BMC showed high level of corruption.

"There should be a CID inquiry, specifically into the approval last year of road contracts of such huge variation."

The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance sought to shift part of the blame to the civic administration, stating the proposals were brought before the standing committee and members passed them.

"The proposals were passed by consent of all members, including opposition. None of the corporators protested or argued against," said Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairman and Shiv Sena corporator.

He claimed the CAG report seemed unlawful.

Another Sena corporator Yashodhar Phanse released names of then opposition corporators who had sought additional works in wards before civic elections.

"The road works carried out on demand also caused cost escalation. Why is the opposition not demanding an inquiry against its own senior leaders," he asked.

Meanwhile, the civic administration has decided to not include additional work in tenders to avoid cost escalation. It will also not undertake work outside the scope of an order passed in the committee.

"Earlier, we would carry out work other than proposed in a tender if needed. At times, money allotted for a project was in excess and we could undertake additional work. We will now stop these practices to prevent variation in road projects," said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.

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